new year’s writing resolution

McCutcheonNY1905A few years back I made a joke to D about teaching and writing. I told her I was deciding to be a bad teacher and to focus on my writing. I told her I would be selfish. I would put my class work on cruise control. This was difficult to do because I feel such a responsibility to my students and I spend so much time note taking and creating lessons and lectures. It didn’t help that Sergio Troncoso inspired me with the care and attention to his students I witnessed in his workshop. Resolution: This year I will try to devote more time to the work. I always say my teaching is investigating story and writing, but I recognize I need to work harder on revising manuscripts rather than generating new material. Update: currently the Semi-Orphaned novel in stories manuscript is away at the editor and I am anticipating a mass of notes for revision. Actually I’m waiting for Jennifer C. Cornell to kick my ass. She was incredibly helpful with what became The House of Order manuscript. I’m slowly and surely starting to understand the importance of an experienced and assertive editor. And her notes are the most rigorous and detailed I’ve seen from an editor. Invaluable for the work. I’d also like to complete the Monte Stories manuscript later on this year. That is another manuscript–possibly another novel in stories–I know needs much work and development. This should be an interesting year of struggling for balance.

revision–the timeline

Sabbatical blues have set in. Missing the classroom. But the great revision is taking up most of my time now. Since New York State Writers’ Institue I’ve been working on making narrator more known and yet controlled as well as detailing a bit more physical details of the house at the center of this story. Jenny Cornell told me years ago revision is about outlines and control. So here’s an outline/timeline thing I put together if you’re interested:

Stories from old neighborhood are from the years 1963 to 64 and these
are told in 1996 where we first get Lolo and some of his stories in 2003.


1. Rabbit Story 1996

You hear Lolo tell story of Martinez in 1996 about June night from
1963. Abuelito or Jefe is dead about ten years. Manito is around 14 or so and this
story frames greater story.

2. Family Album

You get another intro of the house and of stories told from around
1990’s in Abuelita’s home with boys and unknown family looking at old pictures.
We get an introduction of little Lolo and the boys and their Jefe’s drinking.

3. Lapping of Milk

Story of Lolo being very small when around 8 or so. Trip to New Mexico
to see Jefe’s parents. You see Lolo with Grandfather and also you see Mitedio
and Jefe fight over the raising of little Lolo.

4. Strange Tattoos

Here you see little Lolo get into his head that he will have
tattoos—tattoos are what makes you tough. Jefita is upset and you see Lolo cut
himself in bathroom with MItedio’s pen knife. Jefita and Jefe argue over the
Jefe allowing the boy to have the knife.

5. Breaking of Wrists

You see Lolo after a rough day of teasing and fighting with other boys
finally escaping the house looking for Jefe out at his third shift at the steel
mill—he dreams of leaving and dreams of travelling men he once found at
abandoned house on Box Elder. The house is Tio Freddie’s and after he dies the
house is left empty. Lolo falls from hole in floor the men have created for a
stairwell after digging out the basement.

6. Boy’s Play

You see side-job of snow sweeping and shoveling but first the boys are riding
on a sled the Jefe has brought them. We also see Relles drive for the first
time and slide his Jefe’s truck around the ice. Jefe leaves the boys with a
message on a long life filled with work and toil.

7. Las Dias

You see the Jefita and Jefe prepare for Great Grandfather’s birthday
and also Lolo’s birthday. You see the Jefita cut the boy’s hair and also Tio
Benny’s band setup and play. Mitedio and ex fight as well as a few other minor
characters. Lolo plays until he pushes a foster and then he is paddled and sent
into the house with no dessert.


7.5. The Unreliable Lolo Ortiz

Section 2 begins as section 1—Lolo is working and taking Manito along.
Manito is around 12 or so same as in Rabbit Story and Manito slowly starts to
see how unreliable Lolo is. Lolo steals some sacks and tools from his
girlfriend and then chases Manito in parking lot or rest stop next to highway.

8. Jefita’s Dress

Here we get more of Jefe and Jefita arguing over housework and then
Jefita runs off to the bus station and then to the bus depot. Then the Jefe
picks her up and brings her back home. You see she has thoughts of leaving.

9. Crew of Fosters

Intro of bringing in of foster kids and their story.

10. Little Blue Box

Here you see Relles run a more adult errand and also you see Tevo and
Relles fight. Jefita slaps Relles and also she tells Relles he is oldest and in
charge when Jefe not around. Also we see Relles is more dutiful and more responsible
than Lolo and Relles is perhaps more locked into the house while Lolo has been
shown to run away like the Jefita tried to.

11. Jefe’s Lists

Jefe makes a list of bills after learning he will lose a month or so of
work due to some hearing loss.

12. Jefe’s Work

After losing a month of work the Jefe is home more and takes more out
on Lolo—bosses him around.

13. Dual-Purpose Belt

Here we have the threat of punishment and I also want to add some more
about plugging the toilet.

14. Jefe in Burma

Flashback to Jefe in WWII and how he makes a friend of a little boy
named Than and also loses that friend. Comes back to Spruce with Jefe drinking
and calling little Lolo Than.

15. Lolo and the House

Here we have Lolo left alone as the Jefe and Jefita and other boys head
downtown for business—probably bills or post office. Jefe is home more because
out of work and drives Jefita to where she would normally take a bus. I should
put that in there. Also Lolo explores house after feeding animals. He finds
some coins and a stash of money to the Jefita’s bible. This could be Jefita’s
stash or could be Jefe’s stash or both. Jefita comes home and replaces the
bible and money back before Jefe can see.

16. Keeping of Chickens

The focus here is on the chickens and the cruel work of killing and
cooking them for food. Lolo cries after the Jefe outs the hatchet to the
animals. The boys tease him and laugh at him and Lolo by the end toughens up
and perhaps toughens to Jefe treating Jefita poorly. Jefe also seems to be
upset at the way Lolo is bullied and again wants to toughen him up.

17. Bear

Jefe focues on the bear Lolo sleeps with at night and finally trashes

18. Peaches

Jefita brings home a dog and the two argue over the expense and
care—Jefita wins after the Jefe lets the dog loose and the boys have to search
for the dog. Rift between Jefe and Jefita is widening as this is first time
mentioned that Jefe sleeps on couch at night.

19. Driven to the Fields

Instead of going to July 4th party the boys go to work in
the fields. Side-jobs are picking up because the Jefe is once again on medical
leave and not making as much money to his check. Here Lolo is tasked with
steering the truck out of the mud while the Jefe and boys push and once the
truck is free he decides to take the truckito down the road. The Jefe runs and
catches up with Lolo and paddles him and slaps his face. It is implied Jefe
needs more help to work his many side-jobs as crew of boys is not enough.


19.5 Lolo’s Love

Another flashback and Manito is around 18 or so mentions college and
wanting to go—has short relationship with girl and Lolo haunts her or might
have haunted her for hurting Manito.

20. Coco

MItedio is called in to help with field work and teaches the boys about
ghosts and monsters. Also we learn he teaches the boys cards as the Jefe and
Jefita start going out with each other more. Boys are very fond of MItedio at
this point.

21. Mitedio and His Boys

Mitedio plays with the boys and encourages
their imagination as Jefe tries to work on his truck. Also I need to continue
scene where Lolo finds Mitedio strung out on drugs/hopped up on the goofballs.

22. Mitedio Returns from Korea

Flashback to MItedio returning from Korean War as prisoner of war after
playing dead in a battle field.

23. Mitedio Put Out

Mini flashback to Mitedio with his wife/live in girlfriend in Monte
Vista as he works for company framing cabins in Black Forest. He is run out of
town by the girlfriend’s family forcing him to come to Huerfano in search of
work att eh steel mill.

24. Juanita’s Boy

Jefe and Jefita go to funeral for Jefe’s mother in Belen, New Mexico
and Mitedio moves in for a time. He teaches the boy to play like adults taking
them to dog tracks and the Mexican movies. MItedio is estranged from mother
after implied wrongs—perhaps drinking and money borrowing.

25. Mitedio’s Fishing Trips

MItedio does things with the boys the Jefe does not. Instead of work he
takes the opportunity while Jefe and Jefita away to teach the boys fishing.
Perhaps here he can promise the boys he will take them hunting and teach them
how to be self sufficient men of the llano and Lolo really eats this up. Relles
is not so sure.

26. Mitedio’s Fight

Mitedio fights with store owner while boys look for toys and candy in
the store—Mitedio is lonely and angry and his influence on the boys gets a bit
darker and destructive. Jefe comments he would never do such a thing in front
of the boys.

27. A Rock in the Beans

Here Mitedio slaps Jefita after he cracks tooth on beans. Jefe pulls
gun and kicks Mitedio out of the house for good.

28. Relles’ Skull

Relles and Lolo argue over Mitedio leaving—instead of playing they are
doing chores showing how Mitedio’s games and imagination is missed. Relles
cracks head open after fighting with Lolo.

29. Jefita Pregnant

Lolo eavesdrops on Jefe and Jefita while they talk in the kitchen. Jefe
is back to work and Jefita is pregnant again for third time.

30. News of Mitedio

Jefe informs the boys that MItedio has to go away to jail after an
unnamed crime. I think he steals to pay for his tooth and his habits. The boys
do not take the news well and Lolo yells at the Jefe for the first time—here he
is openly defiant.


30.5. Lolo’s Lunch

Lolo is sentenced to a short county jail time and he decides to over
eat at a local diner before heading in blowing all his money on food. Manito is
away at college/army around this time.

31. Jefita in Colorado Springs

While Jefe and boys away on hunting trip Jefita has idea to take trip
to see Mona in Colorado Springs rather than stay home and feed animals. Also
here we get background of Mona who lives alone and works in bigger city of
Colorado Springs. Mona wants Jefita to leave and offers her help in moving.

32. Jefe’s Hunting

Jefe has been upset by Lolo missing MItedio and so he takes the boys
hunting. The trip is more a series of trials as Jefe is not good with
boys—makes them hike and rough it a bit too much. Lolo falls and the Jefe and
him kind of bond. Sort of.

33. Jefe Returns

After camping trip Jefe returns to dead animals and argues with Jefita.
At first she locks herself in basement and then they argue in the backyard
while the boys watch from the kitchen. She tells the man he must change for the
new baby coming—maybe she should threaten not to have the baby if he stays with
his same hard ways. They make up after Jefe breaks down.

34. ‘the Fight’

Jefe and Jefita are out with the boys at Jorge’s Restaurant after their
argument. He is trying to show he can lighten up and reveals they are not as
bad off money wise so they can enjoy each other more. Here Jefe argues with
steel worker and is cut and cuts man named Nelson Avellanos. Jefe beats him up
and cuts him and leaves quickly. Lolo gets in way and has man’s blood on him.
Jefe is cut badly as well.

35. Jefe’s Stitches

Jefe has to miss more work because of his stitches and Jefita has to
drive him to doctors for stitches.

36. Mitedio Calls

Mitedio calls while Jefe out at hospital getting stitches—calls from
prison—and Lolo answers and tells him about the fight and the Jefe taking them
to restaurant.

37. Colorado State Penitentiary

Jefe and Jefita drive with boys out to see MItedio. Lolo is car sick
and so is Jefita showing signs she is pregnant. She tells Lolo to give Jefe the
shine and also to not pay attention to him. MItedio tells them he will be in
proson for five years on felony theft charges.

38. Jefe Arrested

Lolo and crew of boys spy on the cops and the Jefe and Jefita in the
living room. Lolo watches as Jefe is arrested for fight with Nelson Avellanos.
Lolo goes to get Jefe his shirt. Jefita breaks down and calls for help from
neighbors from the bathroom, She yells at boys to fix their own food.

39 Jefe Interviewed

Jefe is in jail and meets with advocate to help him get out of jail. He
breaks down and reveals he cares very much for the boys.

40. Boys in New Mexico

Flashback to Jefe and Mitedio in New Mexico. This reveals the hardness
of Jefe’s father and also how the Jefe also was scared as kid of slaughtering
animals. MItedio is the tough one and the Jefe is the one who cries and has to
go to his Grandmother’s arms.

41. Arkansas Flood 1964

Jefe out of jail and after a bad storm and flooded river goes to
Compadre Julian’s to help him. Julian ahs no family or kids and Jefe starts to
become a bit more grateful for the boys.

42. Jefe Plays

After the rains and storms that cause the flood the Jefe relaxes and
enjoys the morning time along with Lolo playing barefoot out in the wet grass.

V. House of Order-

Story from around 2003. The ends the frame that began in opening. Manito
has not seen Lolo since around 1996. Abuelita is said to be dead gone and
family has spread out. Manito is around 21 and said to be back from the Army
and going to college.

revision–carlos’ unexplained sighting

Been a while since I had a breakthrough in what I’m working on. But this one has been flat for a while and finally stole some inspiration from old Bradbury stories I’ve been rereading while I should be doing work.

Carlos’ Unexplained Sighting

That night the old man drains beer and rum and RC Cola down at SLV Bowl, just outside of Hooper, Colorado. He drinks that night over his young wife and he drinks over his lack of dollar bills.

From the highway, the passing headlights burn at his face and eyes, fill the cab of his truckito with shadows and wrong thoughts. The night skies remind Carlos of dark grey, snowy roads though the heat rises off the two lane flat top. Headlights pinch between passing cars, when his own engine, like his own breathing, coughs and hiccups and then recovers before finally dying. The road is still and flat but he manages to coast in the engine’s compression and as he works the choke he has to pull onto the shoulder of sand and broken gravel. It all cracks under his bald tires.

            In its middle age the truckito has failed him but he refuses to believe it initially. Just some dirt in the fuel line or maybe he has miscalculated the level of gasoline, maybe a short circuit with the battery or distributor points, maybe the plug connections. Something he could cure before not too long, he thinks. But turning off the lights and trying at the starter again and again brings no result and he waits for the smell of gasoline from the flooded carburetor. Eventually he opens the truckito up to the night and lets himself out onto the sand and chipped gravel. He finds his semi-automatic pistola.

            The warm air surprises him and dizzies him. The headache hits the whiskers on his beard so he curses the night and the truckito and the reasons for his own drinking. He watches headlights passing and his eyes sting with water and ache in the harsh luminescence of the starry night sky. His eyes squint more and more and his eyes begin to ache deep down into his brain. Beside the dead truckito he stands with his head bent listening to the engine and there was no sound.

            Indecisively seeking assistance, he waves the gun at passing cars and truckitos with no luck and then he begins to pace and walk up the road and then back down the road refusing to leave his car for dead. Soon there is no sign of light around him and the shadows of the highway and of the night press inward and he walks around his truck again and again seemingly lost before lifting at his hood and searching for wires and connection that may have gone wrong. He awkwardly holds the metal weapon in his armpit as he works and his hands begin to ache as well as his eyes and his ankles even in high boots begin to throb as he steps.

            Who’n the hell are you? he thinks into the black emptiness around him. Not a busted coil or a distributor, he thinks. Who’n the hell are you to do this to me?

            He pulls his pistola and leans on the fender. He kicks at his boots and then unlaces them and then frees his aching feet. Drains the last of his bottle hidden away in his coveralls. He switches on the headlights to see what they reveal on the empty shoulder and he eyes a small rail fence. Even in his drunkenness he knows the highway as the lifeblood of the valley. No one passes up a broken down truckito. No one would leave a working man down and out. Soon a Compadre or a farm worker would be passing by and stop to give a push or a tow with a strap chain. He never thinks how a man with a gun and drinking from a wine bottle wearing no shoes would look to passers-by. A man carrying a pistola to fight the spirits that may come. But no one comes along and fifteen minutes turn to thirty and one farm truck slows but never stops and Carlos is too drunk to wave it down—too drunk to stand at one point and crumbles down past the tire well and then finally against the old bald tire. In many years, he will remember being alone under such a dark San Luis sky.

That was when the flames flew in. He wants to believe they are imagined or sad hallucinations from his drinking. He feels the heat on his face and along the seams of his pants. The stars plunge down where the moonlight meets the horizon and from the blue glimmer of starlight. The flame and spark gives rise to gooseflesh in him thought long dead since he was a small boy in New Mexico. He feels spooked and begins to sweat and struggle in his drunkenness. Struggles to his feet and then struggles for air to breathe. His legs ache and his bare socked feet begin to burn beneath him.

There had been so many times in his youth where he was out walking and lost in nights like this. Nights where your eyes deceive or your head loses its sense. Told stories as a boy of La Virgen de Guadalupe appearing to lost travelers and filling lost souls with her beauty and her love. Bullshit stories. Indigenous legends of portals and doorways out of this world the Abuelitos talked as they sat around with sweetened coffee and Compadres. Deaths in los campos and cattle left mutilated he thought only to scare little mocosos. That is all bullshit like the rest of the pinche churches rules and regulations concerning life, he thinks. Carlos had learned at an early age to stay away from such superstitions—to think and measure and work. But the Blanca Massif, the great mountain to the east, looms above him as the flames come in that night abruptly and he picks himself up to escape. To run and leave that lonely truckito and his tools. To walk ahead to the nearest home he can find.

He admits to himself he is terrified and must escape to the sand and gravel of the shoulder littered with beer bottles flung up from limitless amounts of traffic waves and then across the blacktop towards the great Sand Dunes. But those flames decide to follow and seem to be gliding above him, hovering over his truckito and then above him as if La Virgen had become attracted to his wretched self. With his eyes burning and his feet aching from walking barefooted he runs and stutter steps in the red and white light above him. At that moment he wants La Virgen so bad it overwhelms him. I will have her, Carlos thinks. He fires several rounds into the fire. She is mine. I will take her.

The bright burst of his weapon flashes in the night sky. He looks up and the metal flashes again and again and a minute later the bright light lands around the viejito and engulfs arms and then his legs settling around him. Carlos hasn’t run in years and, though his joints ache and his limbs burn, he sets them free to run. He empties his pistola of all cartridges and staggers and then stutter steps. Falls to one knee and then recovers. His eyes shut and then open to the flames and their heat. Lungs filling with the smoke and ash as he coughs and gags. The old man vanishes into the fire. There is no direction or highway for the old man only the flames and burning to his skin. He grits his teeth and hollers as loud as he can. In the center of the flame is where the man drowns in his past. Sinks into memories growing up like moss inside of his worst thoughts and angers.

High strange flashes and visitation occur in the darkening sky around him. The sounds of the sweet mother advising the twelve year old Carlos, Don’t be a lost soul like your old man, Mihijo. Before the first day of his Catholic schooling, as he stands in white collared shirt and corduroy pants that is the uniform for boys, the father, Ignacio Montoya, telling the boy, You should be in coveralls and working in the damn fields. Then the father slapping at the boy’s chin and mouth, more pushing the boy back onto his heels of his church shoes and clothes. The sounds and views from the boys’ study room of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception; the corner window overlooking a lawn, and a sunken lane between pine and spruce trees out to a low stone wall that surrounds the place. And beyond the school’s wall, the trees giving way to narrow gates onto the llano opening up to the horizon where mountains between road and sky meet with a band of brown road.

Flashes of the Compadre Benito who only thinks of play and wine. We can get to the wine Carlos, he whispers before being caught and cracked by Sister Manuela. Father John catching the boys lighting a cigarillo before sending them home. The chaw he keeps in his mouth before the second service and then after the third service chomping naively at a larger piece. As he walks home he feels light-headed and dizzy, unstable reaching for the side of buildings to balance himself when he finds the old woman Rodriguez’ flower bed just blocks from home to fertilize. His stomach churning and his legs striding towards the back outhouse.

Synaptic lighting flashing on his father’s pipe as he scratches at his whiskers lecturing the boy on how a man must make a living working God’s land in 1908—the year Carlos, along with his brother Lalo took the train to San Luis from their home in Mora, New Mexico. The father’s voice denying him to continue in school. His mother’s sullen face turning him away to his Grandmother at age fifteen. The father tearing down the unpaved driveway after a half hug and present of an old pocket knife. The rain on his face as his Tio fishes in a rainstorm before leaving the boy to his Grandfather. The Compadre Julian who leaves for war duty only to write letters and die without record or notice to the family. The Abuelito’s hacking furniture and cabinets for the wood furnace in the middle of a late winter New Mexico storm.

Crackling transport of thoughts on the disapproving looks from his own face as his brothers and some of his Compadres from work camp days move on to steady work—out to Southern Colorado to the coal mines and steel mills of Huerfano County. We never were brothers if you drive off, Lalito, Carlos screams in memory. The look to his first wife’s face as he slaps and punches her down behind the bed in their first home in Belen, New Mexico just months later. The afternoon his hand slaps his youngest boy so hard he has to be ridden out to the hospital in Alamosa and how the man drains his bottle in between parked cars as he waits for the boy to be stitched up.

The afternoon his oldest boy runs into the mountains as Carlos chases after. Carlos’ second wife Theresa and her frantic tears during love-making after leaving her family in New Mexico to be with Carlos in 1915. The voice of the Compadre Luis who leaves in 1917 to find work at the Steel Mill in Huerfano County because the two can’t agree on how best to fertilize their crop—Luis insists they spend more money on machinery but Carlos insists they work as he is taught in New Mexico. The men are lost to one another after the incident.

The highway disappearing into Horseshoe Lake after the flood of 29. The smell of the no-named woman of who gave Carlos his daughter only to die of la viruela in the winter of 32. The day he sends his only daughter to live with his mother who swears the man will burn if he doesn’t do right by his oldest girl Tranquilena.

            The smell of rain on the afternoon his wife Theresa dies in her bed to la gripe, leaving him three young boys and an infant daughter. The infant, Tranquilena, he sends out to live with his mother in Mora leaving the boys to stay on the farm. The snow and wind off of the Penitente Peaks that follow in 1936 after the second wife passes during childbirth. The first buyout offer comes from the Brow Farming Company.

The joy in the mirror after meeting Josefina Marquez who wears a red dress when they meet at the Stampede Street Festival. Drinking and sitting alongside the woman with a table filled with Compadres at one of the tri-county potato growers’ tents. The pride Carlos feels fathering three more boys with the Marquez daughter before she passes on. The harsh light of the doctor coming to the home and telling Carlos in his own kitchen his wife has ‘the cancer’ at the same time he tells Carlos the woman is pregnant with his latest child. Months later Josefina dies giving birth.

The fire burning as the last wife Felipa the afternoon she knows she has a newly built house with a brand new Frigidaire and woodstove. All she knows is that her new husband comes home each night and comes home at the end of each week with a paycheck. That is when the nagging begins, her voice droning through the walls to Carlos’ inner ear to which he can only respond: Dammit, Mujer! No more children! 

These voices of time and wind and change form the heat covering his body. He squirms out of his coveralls and then his long underwear he wears no matter the month or the season. He throws off his flannel and then his undershirt until only bare skin protects him from the heat and the humidity of the night air. He leaps over heavy fence wire that stabs at his forearms and then his thighs. His skin aches as burned leather as the garbage from the incinerator in the many work sites of his memory. The old man feels his body vanishing from the storm of heat.

He crosses a stream and then comes to a clearing, the flames still the color of mercurochrome and blinding silver. The old man gasps tired but keeping pace. And, finally, after lurching and stumbling, he collapses in a ditch south of Alamosa surrendering his consciousness to the valley floor that surrounds him.

And it isn’t until the grey light of morning, when whetto Deputies and their flashlights find the burned up 36 Chevy half ton with New Mexico plates and the blackened primer colored panels. Tires only burnt rubber and stains to the single lane flat blacktop. Then the old man passed out and sleeping with no shoes or pants. The clothes nowhere to be found, perhaps thrown. No signs of burns or melted flesh. There is no sign of his wallet, the empty bottle or his pistola. The men are quick to laugh at such a sight. Hello? they tell him as they slowly wake him. Anybody home?

La Virgen, are the first words they hear him mutter.

time to be a student

I’m sitting in office hours and waiting for a last appointment I’ve made with a student. And monday nights are the loneliest of all the office hours. And being the final week of classes I have a few more class periods–one more fiction workshop–and then I get to be a writer and student again. I guess that is an exaggeration since I am always investigating story and narratives. That’s my job. But on holiday break I can carry the books around that I want to carry around. I can make annotations in the books i want to annotate. I can begin to think of my writing as the center of my thoughts rather than my students.

And a few minutes ago I pulled a book from my shelf–a book I haven’t cracked in quite a while. Something I wrote about a few days ago–Bringing the Devil to His Knees–the Craft of Fiction and the Writing Life. And I am finding annotations and notes I made years and years ago. A past self as Tracy Daugherty pushed on creative writing students at Oregon State. So I am relishing in the time I can go back to this book–specifically the essays on omniscient narration and the weighted story. Hoping I can apply some of these ideas to my own abandoned manuscripts.

monte stories–revision notes

The projects Highland Stories and Little Lolo Stories are pretty much done which means Monte Stories and the Cornbread project need to get fully drafted this summer. I am a week and a half away from some time to focus on my own work and I need to get a revision plan down. I remember when Jenny Cornell assigned this for the Highland Stories. It was tremendously helpful. So I do it now out of habit. Here is what I came up with:

Monte Stories:


  • Carlos Stories–intro of family and Carlos and necessity for these stories

Section 1–sets up community, village ideals, gossip, infidelities of marriage and friendship

  • San Luis
  • South Fork
  • Felipa
  • Pifanio
  • Carlos and Pifanio
  • Delores
  • Pifanio and Felipa
  • Pifanio’s Wives
  • Felipa Pregnant
  • *Church Community*

Section 2–follows Carlos’ downfall, crash sites, drinking and reliance on Lena

  • Carlos Unexplained Sighting
  • Carlos and the Sugar
  • Felipa’s Pregnancy
  • Carlos’ Foreclosure
  • Carlos and Felipa Trip to Market
  • *more argument in market*
  • Daughter’s Trip Home

Section 3–Carlos’ background, Felipa’s regret, motherhood

  • Carlos Back in his Day–maybe move to previous section?
  • Felipa Haunts Lena
  • *more Felipa following Lena and Bruna
  • Carlos Without Felipa
  • Carlos’ Amputation
  • *more with Carlos’ reaction in hospital

Section 4–future monte stories, lost monte stories, lost family, loss of community, future?

  • Lena Visits Felipa and Carlos
  • Lena’s Kitchen
  • *Future in Lena’s Kitchen?
  • *?